Comments on: The Imperative to Be Abled: The ReWalk Exoskeleton http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/ Changing the Cultural Conversation Wed, 20 Jun 2012 04:41:26 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4 By: La recherche de la “validit√©”…. | maylislovingthings http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/#comment-52 La recherche de la “validit√©”…. | maylislovingthings Thu, 14 Jun 2012 11:31:42 +0000 http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/?p=270#comment-52 [...] http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/ [...] [...] http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/ [...]

]]>
By: The Imperative to Be Abled: The ReWalk Exo-Skeleton | a Path Through the Valley http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/#comment-50 The Imperative to Be Abled: The ReWalk Exo-Skeleton | a Path Through the Valley Wed, 13 Jun 2012 17:58:41 +0000 http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/?p=270#comment-50 [...] The Imperative to Be Abled: The ReWalk Exo-Skeleton. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in ME/CFS. Bookmark the permalink. [...] [...] The Imperative to Be Abled: The ReWalk Exo-Skeleton. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in ME/CFS. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

]]>
By: Ashlynne http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/#comment-49 Ashlynne Mon, 11 Jun 2012 21:23:07 +0000 http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/?p=270#comment-49 Nice post, Mom! Reminds me of several tv shows and other stories where robotic limbs are possible, and the way it's seen as infinitely more desirable than a wheelchair (even though in one of the stories a hoverchair was a possibility - with flame decals! who could say no to that.) Nice post, Mom! Reminds me of several tv shows and other stories where robotic limbs are possible, and the way it’s seen as infinitely more desirable than a wheelchair (even though in one of the stories a hoverchair was a possibility – with flame decals! who could say no to that.)

]]>
By: chaals http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/#comment-48 chaals Mon, 11 Jun 2012 08:32:27 +0000 http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/?p=270#comment-48 Thank you for this piece, it is spot on. As you say, it is great if people set themselves a challenge and manage to achieve something difficult. But nobody thinks *everybody* should climb Mt Everest even though it is there. Development of new things that help people, from glasses and curb cuts to robotic exoskeletons and bionic eyes, is not in itself a bad thing. It relies on people trying out the technology, and doing crazy things with it. But it doesn't mean we should automatically try to mould everyone in our own image, especially when the results don't actually get anywhere near that goal anyway. I know people who have spent years housebound because they do not want to be seen in a wheelchair. When the freedom of going shopping with a friend, or going out for a coffee with your adult children, or seeing the christmas nativity scene in the square (or whatever it is that a given person actually enjoys doing) can't compensate for the "shame" of being seen as disabled, we have somehow taught ourselves some very stupid lessons about what matters in life. So how do we as a "society" learn to applaud people for their achievements, accept them for who they are and what they do, and actually integrate the world so everyone has a fair place? I used to sit to talk to my grandmother - is it different sitting to talk to someone in a wheelchair? I can reach on top of the cupboard, but I don't put things there which other people need to get down. A ramp over a step is not an ideal solution, but it would let me enter many bars with a friend who can't get in right now). There are many many stories that can and need to be told to help people understand that attitude is a key problem to consider, often as much as the ultimately small and solvable issue of a ramp or a better way to find a path using a cane. Thank you for telling some. Thank you for this piece, it is spot on. As you say, it is great if people set themselves a challenge and manage to achieve something difficult. But nobody thinks *everybody* should climb Mt Everest even though it is there. Development of new things that help people, from glasses and curb cuts to robotic exoskeletons and bionic eyes, is not in itself a bad thing. It relies on people trying out the technology, and doing crazy things with it. But it doesn’t mean we should automatically try to mould everyone in our own image, especially when the results don’t actually get anywhere near that goal anyway.

I know people who have spent years housebound because they do not want to be seen in a wheelchair. When the freedom of going shopping with a friend, or going out for a coffee with your adult children, or seeing the christmas nativity scene in the square (or whatever it is that a given person actually enjoys doing) can’t compensate for the “shame” of being seen as disabled, we have somehow taught ourselves some very stupid lessons about what matters in life.

So how do we as a “society” learn to applaud people for their achievements, accept them for who they are and what they do, and actually integrate the world so everyone has a fair place?

I used to sit to talk to my grandmother – is it different sitting to talk to someone in a wheelchair? I can reach on top of the cupboard, but I don’t put things there which other people need to get down. A ramp over a step is not an ideal solution, but it would let me enter many bars with a friend who can’t get in right now).

There are many many stories that can and need to be told to help people understand that attitude is a key problem to consider, often as much as the ultimately small and solvable issue of a ramp or a better way to find a path using a cane.

Thank you for telling some.

]]>
By: PD http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/#comment-47 PD Mon, 11 Jun 2012 00:33:02 +0000 http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/?p=270#comment-47 as a Aspie with lerning disabiltys, congestive heart failer, COPD, & a brain tumer that spent 2 years in a wheelchair & 3 on braces, this his me square in the eyes of how hard I have faught to live a "normal" life like you said I had to always exseed exspectations, if a friend said they were to busy to drive 5 miles to see me I would walk to see them. I always felt since there were thangs I couldnt do like know how to act in sociol situations or do math or spell I would compensate by working 22 hour days at a volinteer job or walking 55 miles to get things done for others that were more "inportent" then me. I am now a shut in becuse I can't stand the thought of me & my servise dog going out with a oxigen tank & wheel chair to get places, so I go no farther then my mailbox becuse I can do that on my own swollen 2 feet. thanks for this artical, I don't know how it will inpact others but it sure gave me somethings to think about. as a Aspie with lerning disabiltys, congestive heart failer, COPD, & a brain tumer that spent 2 years in a wheelchair & 3 on braces, this his me square in the eyes of how hard I have faught to live a “normal” life like you said I had to always exseed exspectations, if a friend said they were to busy to drive 5 miles to see me I would walk to see them. I always felt since there were thangs I couldnt do like know how to act in sociol situations or do math or spell I would compensate by working 22 hour days at a volinteer job or walking 55 miles to get things done for others that were more “inportent” then me. I am now a shut in becuse I can’t stand the thought of me & my servise dog going out with a oxigen tank & wheel chair to get places, so I go no farther then my mailbox becuse I can do that on my own swollen 2 feet. thanks for this artical, I don’t know how it will inpact others but it sure gave me somethings to think about.

]]>
By: The Imperative to Be Abled: The ReWalk Exo-Skeleton « enablingoccupationaltherapy http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/#comment-46 The Imperative to Be Abled: The ReWalk Exo-Skeleton « enablingoccupationaltherapy Sun, 10 Jun 2012 22:13:43 +0000 http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/?p=270#comment-46 [...] The Imperative to Be Abled: The ReWalk Exo-Skeleton. Share this:LinkedInTwitterFacebookPrintStumbleUponPinterestDiggTumblrRedditEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...] [...] The Imperative to Be Abled: The ReWalk Exo-Skeleton. Share this:LinkedInTwitterFacebookPrintStumbleUponPinterestDiggTumblrRedditEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

]]>
By: mary http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/#comment-45 mary Sun, 10 Jun 2012 21:19:33 +0000 http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/?p=270#comment-45 Like so much in the modern world, it's style over content, form over function. Better to "walk" 2 miles in a suit costing 120,000 and be sore and exhausted at the end of it, than to roll 4 miles in a wheelchair costing 4,000 and be feeling comfortable enough to participate in life at your destination. I think part of it is also the novelty - I'd quite like a go in one of these suits in the same way as I'd quite like to fly in a hot air balloon, it would be an interesting and unique experience but hardly a way to go to the shops or pick the kids up from school. Like so much in the modern world, it’s style over content, form over function. Better to “walk” 2 miles in a suit costing 120,000 and be sore and exhausted at the end of it, than to roll 4 miles in a wheelchair costing 4,000 and be feeling comfortable enough to participate in life at your destination. I think part of it is also the novelty – I’d quite like a go in one of these suits in the same way as I’d quite like to fly in a hot air balloon, it would be an interesting and unique experience but hardly a way to go to the shops or pick the kids up from school.

]]>
By: claire donnelly http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/#comment-44 claire donnelly Sun, 10 Jun 2012 21:05:44 +0000 http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/?p=270#comment-44 Only discovered your blog Rachel today and it is already my fave. As Australia battles its ignorance and prejudice in an attempt to provide a National disability insurance scheme (NDIS) the catchcry of the majority is one of "why should I pay for their luxuries". A luxury I assume is something as simple as my desire to have more than 2 showers a week! We are assumed to be living life 'high on the hog' on the largesse of the public purse..... Demands for us to 'get a job' when no one will offer us one even when we are more than willing..... sigh..... Only discovered your blog Rachel today and it is already my fave. As Australia battles its ignorance and prejudice
in an attempt to provide a National disability insurance scheme (NDIS) the catchcry of the majority is one of “why should I pay for their luxuries”. A luxury I assume is something as simple as my desire to have more than 2 showers a week! We are assumed to be living life ‘high on the hog’ on the largesse of the public purse…..
Demands for us to ‘get a job’ when no one will offer us one even when we are more than willing…..
sigh…..

]]>
By: Katharine Annear http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/#comment-40 Katharine Annear Sun, 10 Jun 2012 09:58:37 +0000 http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/?p=270#comment-40 I wonder how the headline "Cyborg Completes Marathon" would have gone down. I wonder how the headline “Cyborg Completes Marathon” would have gone down.

]]>
By: Moose http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/06/08/the-imperative-to-be-abled/#comment-37 Moose Sun, 10 Jun 2012 05:32:32 +0000 http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/?p=270#comment-37 The concept that disabled people need to be "just like 'normal' people" is so pervasive in our society it's depressing. Recently I saw a video of a disabled person who goes around giving talks about how he can do anything he sets his mind to, doesn't let his disabilities stop him, blah blah blah, we've all heard it before. Someone commented that disabled people do not exist to make able-bodied people feel better about their lives as they try to live a life that other people would call "normal." This comment got a storm of "How dare you!" type responses. "Maybe what he says helps other people to understand that their little problems are unimportant!" was the general response. The ableism in this is overwhelming. First of all, there's the problem of "The exception is not the rule." The media loves stores about those who "Beat the odds!" and society starts wondering why everyone isn't like that. As a disabled person, I'm sure you've had some able-bodied person explain to you that they saw a story about someone just like you who (fill in the blank -- was able to walk again, went on a thousand mile solo hike, sailed around the universe, whatever), and - here's the kicker -- They Did It, So Can You. (As a fat disabled person I'm constantly being told that if I just lost weight, I'd be able to walk again. If I'm in an especially bad mood, I will explain to these nitwits how they should return their medical degree to the Cracker Jack Box it clearly came from.) So once you have the "The Exception Did It, So Can You" mindset you get people wondering why extra things have to be done to help the disabled. Recently I read complaints about pools being shut down because they did not have accessible access, which was required by a particular date. The most common comment went along the lines of, "Well it's just wasted expense, there's so few disabled people that all that money is going for just a very few people, just like our tax dollars get wasted on kerb cuts and cross-walk signs that beep." I totter back and forth between rage at the selfishness and weeping for a humanity that seems to have lost any compassion it might have once had. (Unless it's compassion for someone who is disabled who shows how able-bodied they can be.) The concept that disabled people need to be “just like ‘normal’ people” is so pervasive in our society it’s depressing.

Recently I saw a video of a disabled person who goes around giving talks about how he can do anything he sets his mind to, doesn’t let his disabilities stop him, blah blah blah, we’ve all heard it before.

Someone commented that disabled people do not exist to make able-bodied people feel better about their lives as they try to live a life that other people would call “normal.” This comment got a storm of “How dare you!” type responses. “Maybe what he says helps other people to understand that their little problems are unimportant!” was the general response.

The ableism in this is overwhelming. First of all, there’s the problem of “The exception is not the rule.” The media loves stores about those who “Beat the odds!” and society starts wondering why everyone isn’t like that. As a disabled person, I’m sure you’ve had some able-bodied person explain to you that they saw a story about someone just like you who (fill in the blank — was able to walk again, went on a thousand mile solo hike, sailed around the universe, whatever), and – here’s the kicker — They Did It, So Can You.

(As a fat disabled person I’m constantly being told that if I just lost weight, I’d be able to walk again. If I’m in an especially bad mood, I will explain to these nitwits how they should return their medical degree to the Cracker Jack Box it clearly came from.)

So once you have the “The Exception Did It, So Can You” mindset you get people wondering why extra things have to be done to help the disabled. Recently I read complaints about pools being shut down because they did not have accessible access, which was required by a particular date. The most common comment went along the lines of, “Well it’s just wasted expense, there’s so few disabled people that all that money is going for just a very few people, just like our tax dollars get wasted on kerb cuts and cross-walk signs that beep.”

I totter back and forth between rage at the selfishness and weeping for a humanity that seems to have lost any compassion it might have once had. (Unless it’s compassion for someone who is disabled who shows how able-bodied they can be.)

]]>